Monday, June 15, 2009

X-MEN #87 & UXM #368, April 1999 – May 1999

X-Men #87

No Surrender!

Credits: Alan Davis (plot & pencils), Fabian Nicieza (script), Mark Farmer (inker), Comicraft (lettering), Javins/Vasquez (colors)

Summary: The X-Men arrive at Magneto’s fortress as he battles Joseph. They pull Magneto away, while Xavier and Storm attempt to help Joseph repair the damage Magneto’s done to the magnetosphere. Joseph’s body begins to burn itself out as he fixes the environment. He says goodbye and disappears in a flash of light. Astra berates the X-Men for ruining her plan and teleports away. UN representative Dr. Alda Huxley arrives, offering Magneto sovereignty over Genosha if he agrees to stop his attacks. Wolverine, angered, tries to kill Magneto, but Xavier puts him to sleep. Magneto accepts the offer, and is soon left alone with his robot Ferris. Magneto tries to grab his helmet with his powers, but realizes they are gone.

Continuity Notes: Astra tells Nightcrawler “you grew up as handsome as I expected you would,” which shocks him. He tries to get answers from her, but she teleports away. This was never followed up on, and I have no idea what the intention was (Wiki says that the original X-Men Forever mini revealed that she just caught a glimpse of him as a child).

Alda Huxley has made brief appearances throughout the storyline. In this issue, she destroys information that shows the damage Magneto caused was dissipating, because she’s determined to give him Genosha. I know there were two “Magneto in Genosha” miniseries after this, but I don’t know if her character was ever fleshed out.

Review: “Magneto War” is now over, accomplishing its three goals of giving Joseph an origin, killing him, and placing Magneto as ruler of Genosha. Allowing Magneto to rule Genosha actually isn’t a bad idea, and the titles got some mileage out of it over the next two years. The delivery of the overall crossover doesn’t exactly work, as too much time is spent on the Acolytes, leaving the final chapter feeling too rushed and anticlimactic. This installment does try to give Joseph an honorable death, but it’s obvious by this point that the editors just want to get rid of the guy. The basic idea of Joseph had a lot of potential, exploring whether or not Magneto is inherently a good person twisted by fate or someone destined for evil, but none of the storylines ever did much with the character. Davis makes an effort to work some character moments in, as Wolverine fights against Xavier and tries to kill Magneto. The X-editors specifically said in interviews at the time that they wanted to bring Wolverine’s “edge” back, and I assume this was a part of that plan. Davis works with the conflict in the next storyline, which does bring a nice issue-to-issue continuity to the series. This isn’t that great of a storyline, but I think it does set the stage for some entertaining stories in the future.

Uncanny X-Men #368

Mansions in Heaven

Credits: Alan Davis (plot), Joe Casey (script), Adam Kubert (penciler), Tim Townsend (inker), Liquid! (colors), Comicraft (letters)

Summary: Wolverine refuses to attend Joseph’s wake, and instead spends hours fighting Magneto simulations in the Danger Room. Professor Xavier delivers a eulogy, and touches everyone who knew him with a memory of Joseph. The X-Men return to the Danger Room to talk to Wolverine. Suddenly, an alien appears and teleports them to another world.

Review: This is an epilogue for the “Magneto War” crossover, with a brief setup for the next storyline. Wolverine is now acting as the group’s rebel again, plotting an assassination of Magneto while the rest of the team seems to believe that nothing can be done. The story manages to pull this off without making it seem like an arbitrary character reversion. Wolverine’s personal history with Magneto, after losing the adamantium, was addressed fairly well during the “Magneto War” crossover, but there’s also the idea that giving Magneto his own nation violates everything Xavier’s dream is supposed to represent. This ties in to the later issues of Claremont’s run, which had Wolverine as an unlikely, but sincere, protector of Xavier’s dream. Now, Wolverine is pitted against Xavier himself, with Wolverine demanding drastic action and Xavier unwilling to do anything about the situation. It’s a good conflict that enables the characters to interact in a way they haven’t in years. Adam Kubert debuts as regular artist, turning in a more sparse, angular look. The majority of the pages still look fine, but it seems as if the increased stylization is occasionally used to simplify drawings when multiple figures appear.


ray swift said...

Well, as a crossover it wasn't bad. It just wasn't very good either. I liked the ending as it managed to surprise me, and I like these turn of events: Magneto succeeding, becoming the ruler of Genosha and losing simultaniously his powers.
The down part to this, in the same time, is the X-men's resolve, which isn't very reliable. Magneto was standing just there, without his helmet on. Xavier could easily make him sleep - as he did to Wolverine - and turn him to the authorities. Not doing so just make the X-men seems like a useless bunch. They can't heart anyone, they can't even bring them to justice. So why do they even bother? What use is there in undoing the Villian's evil plan, if he can just walk away and start it all over again in the same day?

And in a side note: Astra is a fail. She should'v better knocked down and taken into custody. Watching her teleporting away with an evil "You haven't seen the last of me" kind of grin was painful in spite the fact that I know for sure she is gone for good.

ray swift said...

Oh, and I forgot to say this: Davis and Nicieza completely miss Marrow. I didn't like her adding to the X-team, but at least Kelly did her character justice. But in this story she just came to be another (morlock) Jubilie.

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